The National League North season may be over, but Gloucester City’s Community Tigers have a new goal – turning kids away from crime.

Targeting specific areas of Gloucester, the Tigers’ tactic is to get young people off the street and into sport where they are less likely to become involved in anti-social behaviour.

The project kicks-off today (1 June) after it was selected for the first time as one of 78 local organisations across the county to receive grants from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Fund which supports schemes by local people to make their communities safer. It takes the total since the fund was launched in 2012 to over 350.

Tigers’ Sports Community Officer Matthew Liddiard said, “We know that physical activity can have positive outcomes. We want to provide a safe place for young people to take part in sport instead of hanging around on the streets where they can fall into bad habits.

“We will give them positive role models to look up to as well as the chance to learn from offenders how one wrong decision can change their lives forever.

“Much of what we are trying to achieve – getting messages through to young people around internet safety, drug and alcohol use, driving safely, personal safety and sexual exploitation – mirrors the commissioner’s police and crime plan. We are grateful for his support”.

Gloucester City have just enjoyed one of their most successful seasons ever. Despite a limited budget and the disadvantage of no home of their own, they finished 10th in the Vanarama National League North with a record number of points for the club.

Teaming up with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl and football’s National League Trust, the Tigers’ vision is for local schools and community centres to provide the venues for a variety of activities.

Such activities include Glow sports – sport that is under UV lighting, which allows the fluorescent clothing, wristbands, equipment and face paint to glow in the dark; Futsal, a small sided football game; 5 a side football sessions and tournaments designed to bring together communities to compete and focus on something positive.

Funding from the PCC will go towards equipment, coaching and the purchase of a portable arena that can be transported around Gloucester taking football and other sports to the doorstep.

Mr. Surl said, “Sport, and football in particular, crosses all social and economic boundaries. It’s parochial and partisan on the pitch, but the game also brings communities together off it.

“The Tigers operate in partnership with the Aston Project and Great Expectations – who are already working with young people who show early signs of committing crime – and MY:UK, a voluntary organisation working with Black, Minority and Ethnic groups in Barton & Tredworth.

“They have the capacity to provide a positive focus for thousands of young people around the county”.

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